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After reading physics at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford I began a dual career in science writing and academic research. I joined The Times as a specialist correspondent in 1987, followed by The Sunday Telegraph (1990 - 2005). At the same time, I began research into areas I was writing about, such as chaos theory, genetic algorithms and neural networks, with my work on the latter leading to a Visiting Fellowship at Aston University in 1992. I have continued my association with the University ever since.
I now work as a consultant in science and media, working with clients in the public and private sectors in the UK and abroad, from the Royal Statistical Society and National Institute of Health Research to BBC Focus magazine and TV production companies.
I’m especially interested in public engagement in science and mathematics. I’ve given many popular level talks in this area, and have set up nationwide experiments for schools, using scientific methods to investigate everyday issues such as urban myths.
Qualifications & Education
Membership of Professional Bodies
Why should clinicians care about Bayesian methods? J Stat Plan Inf 94(1) 43-58 2001
What are the implications of optimism bias in clinical research ? (with Chalmers, I) The Lancet 367 (9509) 449-450 2006
Medical progress depends on animal models – doesn’t it ? J Roy Soc Med 101 (2) 95-98 (2008)
Inference with legal evidence: common sense is necessary but not sufficient Med Sci Law 44(3) 189-192 (2004)
Methods for assessing the credibility of clinical trial outcomes Drug Inf J 35(4) 1468-1478 (2001)
Decision-theoretic limits on earthquake prediction Geophys J Intl 131 (3) 526-529 (1997)
Base-rate errors and rain forecasts Nature 382 (6594) 766 (1996)
Neural computation in stylometry I: An application to the works of Shakespeare and Fletcher (with T V N Merriam) Lit & Ling Comp 8 (4) 203-209 (1993)
Neural computation in stylometry II: An application to the works of Shakespeare and Marlowe (with T V N Merriam) Lit & Ling Comp 9 (1) 1 -6 (1994)
Shakespeare v Fletcher: A stylometric analysis by radial basis functions (with Lowe, D.) Comp & Hum 29 (6) 449-461 (1995)
On the derivation of a chaotic encryption algorithm Cryptologia 13 (1) 29-42 (1989)
The use of genetic algorithms in cryptanalysis Cryptologia 17 (2) 187-201 (1993)
The darkening of Iapetus and the origin of Hyperion Qtr J Roy Astr Soc 33 253
Is Proxima really in orbit around aCen A/B ? (with Gilmore, G), MN Roy Astr Soc 261(1) L5-L7 (1993)
The close approach of stars in the Solar Neighbourhood Qtr J Roy Astr Soc 35, 1 (1994)
String theory in science lessons: the investigation of a notoriously knotty problem Sch Sci Rev 96(356) 69-74 (2015)
Why do people believe weird things? Significance 2(4) 182-184 (2005)
Storks deliver babies (p = 0.008) Teaching Statistics 22 (2) 36-38 (2000)